Thomas fourth DLB’er to make finals

FARGO – Justin Thomas knows all about Des Lacs-Burlington’s short wrestling history.

He’s about to try and make some of his own.

The junior kept pace with his seed, beating Oakes senior Caden Coleman by 8-5 decision in the 132-pound semifinals of the Class B state tournament Friday at the Fargodome.

Thomas, whose best finish was fourth as a freshman, joins Casey Perlichek, Wade Weppler and assistant coach Matt Ruby as DL-B wrestlers to make the state finals.

“I was really nervous before the match knowing I could be the fourth ever from our school,” Thomas said. “That’s a lot less than most schools.”

Weppler and Ruby both won titles and the top-seeded Thomas could join that elite group if he can find a way past Carrington No. 2 seed Walker Carr today.

A longtime wrestler at DLB, Thomas said he’d like to close it out this year, even with another chance looming as a senior. If he can’t execute either year, Thomas said it would be a letdown.

“Yeah, it would be disappointing,” he said. “It’s always been my goal since freshman year.”

– Chris Aarhus

Turtle Mountain could contend in future

Longtime Turtle Mountain coach Derrick Dixon could have been happier following the Class A semifinal rounds on Friday night.

Not one of Dixon’s wrestlers qualified for today’s championship matches, an atypical occurrence considering the Braves’ tradition.

A look at Turtle Mountain’s roster would suggest Dixon may have a few smiles ahead of him.

The Braves’ 31-man roster features just two seniors, one of which made it to state (120-pounder T.J. LaVallie).

“We’re young,” Dixon said. “There’s a lot of sophomores and juniors out here. We’ll be back. I probably sound the like Minnesota Vikings for saying that, but we have a lot young kids.”

A pair of his wrestlers came close to getting to the final, though.

Grant Laducer (126 pounds), who won the West Region title last week, went toe-to-toe with top-ranked Jordan Shearer of West Fargo in the semifinals. Shearer was able to get over the top of Luducer, however and pin him in two minutes, 58 seconds.

“He was right there,” Dixon said of Laducer. “But Shearer has wrestled at this level a few times.”

Brandon Rodriquez (182) looked as if he might be the lone Turtle Mountain representative in the finals before Bismarck Century’s Dillon Pierce scored six straight points to win an 11-6 decision.

Turtle Mountain is currently sitting in 10th in the team standings with 55.5 points.

“I’m proud of how they’ve represented our community,” Dixon said.

– Ryan Collingwood

Bridges, Barstad continue run

Velva may not have made the Class B state dual tournament this year, but the Aggies are still making their name known.

They put two in the finals in Jimi Bridges (182) and Taylor Barstad (195).

Bridges, a senior, meets South Border junior James Thielges for the right to be called state champion. To get there, he topped Central Cass senior Matthew Totay by 5-4 decision to improve to 36-1. Oddly enough, his only loss of the season is to Abe Roehrich, who was upended in the 170-pound semifinals by Oakes junior Cole Ehrlin by 3-0 decision.

Barstad played out to his seed thus far, earning a 14-2 major decision over Wyatt Shultz of Hillsboro-Central Valley. In the finals, he’ll face Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm’s Dylan Schnabel, a No. 4 seed who knocked off top-seeded Austin Schuldheisz of Carrington 8-7.

– Chris Aarhus

Williston blanked in semis

Williston dropped both of its chances of being represented in today’s championship round.

The Coyotes’ Alex Haaland (182) had the daunting task of matching up with highly-touted Preston Lehmann (46-0) of West Fargo in the semis.

Lehmann, who recently signed a letter of intent with North Dakota State, pinned Haaland in 53 seconds.

Williston’s Bret Sandberg (220) had a respectable showing against West Fargo’s Zach Elder but lost a tough 4-3 decision.

– Ryan Collingwood

Cardinals boast two finalists

Carrington senior Cordell Schroeder continued his quest for a second straight title and his first at heavyweight, and he did so in dominating fashion.

After being on the mat in the individual tourney for just 2 minutes, 28 seconds the first day in which he gained two pins, the North Dakota State College of Science football commit pinned Pembina County North’s Tyson Lafferty in just 47 seconds.

He’ll face Bishop Ryan’s Mason Kramer in today’s finals.

Carrington got another finalist in Walker Carr, a No. 2 seed who claimed an 8-4 decision over Jonathon Grunefelder in the semis. He meets DL-B’s Justin Thomas in the finals.

The Cardinals also finished third in the Class B state dual tournament after being upset by Linton-HMB in the semifinals. They beat Central Cass 48-25.

– Chris Aarhus

West Fargo wins duals

East Region wrestling power West Fargo claimed the state dual championship by getting past Bismarck High 31-26.

The Packers, who have five wrestlers in today’s individual championship matches, clubbed Minot 62-6 in the first round of the dual tournament on Thursday.

– Ryan Collingwood